134th Infantry Regiment Website
"All Hell Can't Stop Us"
Sgt. Aho was taken prisoner by the Germans on October 9, 1944 near Fosseix, France. The day he was captured the 35th Infantry Division was holding a line of defense at Ajoncourt-Fossieux-Foret de Gremecey-Chambrey when they were counter-attacked by 7 enemy tanks with infantry. That battle continued until the next morning when the enemy cleared the area. He was sent to Stalag IIIC at Kostrzyn, Alt-Drewitz, Poland (formerly East Prussia) where he was held as a POW.
In their drive across East Prussia toward Berlin, the Russians "liberated" Stalag IIIC on January 31, 1945. This area was part of Germany at that time so much of the population was German. As they advanced across East Prussia, the Russian troops treated this civilian population brutally. Word of this spread so the civilian population tended to flee toward the west ahead of the Russian troops. The German guards at Stalag IIIC knew the Russians were nearby and on the way, so they force marched the POWs out of the camp and headed west. They didn't get very far when they were overrun. The POWs were caught in a crossfire between the Russian troops and the German guards. Many POWs were wounded and killed, including Sgt. Aho. He was reported to have been killed by fire from a Russian tank. His remains were never recovered.
Shortly after the war the Army sent a search team to the vicinity of Stalag IIIC to try to locate the remains of our service members who died at the camp. The area was now formally Poland but it was controlled by the Russians. The Army interviewed former POWs from the camp who had survived its liberation and been repatriated. They also interviewed local residents to see if anyone knew where our soldiers were buried. They found that all the original residents who might have known were gone. The cemeteries were in disarray with many unmarked graves. They disinterred some of the unmarked graves but found that all were buried without clothing or any other means of identification. By the war's end relations between the U.S. and Russia had deteriorated. Although the search team was initially allowed into the area there was not much cooperation and eventually the search was called off when the Iron Curtain finally closed.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) is the government agency responsible for locating our missing. They visited the site of Stalag IIIC in 2013 but found no new information. The cemeteries there continue to be in disarray with graves overgrown and unmarked. They visited local churches and government offices in an attempt to find burial records, but nothing was available. Seventy-five years after his death Sgt. Edward W. Aho remains unaccounted for. He is memorialized on the Tablet of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery at Margraten, Netherlands.
If you are a family member of Sgt Edward W Aho or know any family members, please call the U.S. Army Past Conflicts Repatriation Branch at (800) 892-2490 or Contact the Webmaster for more information.